Of all the game release rumors floating around out there, one of the ones I was least likely to believe were those of an upcoming remaster for Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. The remaster has indeed been announced, though, instantly bringing to mind the untold hundreds of hours I devoted to the original. It was the first computer role-playing game I ever played, the one game I always made sure I had a copy of no matter how crappy my computer. When I met my partner of over 10 years, our first date was a weekend playing Diablo II on the two computers in his apartment. It’s hard to believe the game I’ve played for over half my life is making a comeback.
Thanks to the hefty amount of assets still available from the original release, the game will be mostly unchanged. Many things will only need to be tweaked instead of rebuilt entirely. Of the few alterations they are making, one has been cited as minor, but speaking as a former player, I feel it will change everything. The remaster will update the inventory system so that loot is shared across all characters instead of limited to one. On the surface, this appears to be a small adjustment that will modernize the game for new players. To old players like me, it opens up a vast new world of mule-free possibilities, an era where completing rare loot sets will not mean entrusting your most prized possessions to a stranger or an unreliable Internet connection.
The hundreds of hours I spent playing Diablo II as a teenager were split between multiple files with several different characters and builds. Hunting for treasure that I could use across all of them was a big part of what made the experience so rewarding. The unpredictable nature of loot drops and the rarity of their glorious weapons, gems, jewelry, runes, and armor pieces were enough to keep me grinding long after the game had ended. The vastness of its available loot also meant that I could never play with a single character and expect to make use of all of my great finds. Players often had to start a file with a new build or character class for the sheer sake of using them. But it was worth it in pursuit of that perfect build.
None of that was possible without the use of mules. And no matter how “safe” it was, it never really felt so. Whether you couldn’t trust your playing partner or your Internet connection, it was a scary endeavor—not to mention a laborious time waste as well. The Internet is much more reliable these days, and friend lists and multiplayer settings ensure a more trustworthy set of people to play with. But if you’re attempting to lure an old school player like myself back into the game after all these years, this is an excellent way to do it. I have tried to play my original account through Battle.net in the past year, and the graphics made it a challenging experience. The original inventory system is perhaps the only other unpolished aspect I wouldn’t want to put up with in a re-release. With this improvement, though, I can see myself jumping right back into the obsessive, endless world of collecting Perfect Diamonds and Stone of Jordans and grinding for the Vidala’s Rig set for my Bowazon. There’s no way to get everything out of the game without collecting loot across several characters, and a combined inventory system makes it that much easier to do it.
I didn’t take to Diablo III the way I did its predecessor, to such an extent that my partner stopped me recently, mid-rant, to ask me why I don’t just go back to Diablo II. “I might!” I said, and while that was true (I did go back to my old account, though of course none of my old characters were there), the experience was still rough, and ultimately I couldn’t commit to it. These two major updates mean I have no complaints (although maybe just a suggestion—bigger inventory space?). Bring on the remaster; I’m ready to return to Hell.
Holly Green is the editor-at-large of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.